Health and Safety Revision – Fire Extinguisher Types

all the different types of fire extinguishers placed next to each other

Fire extinguishers are a key health and safety revision topic


This health and safety revision section is based on the different types of fire extinguishers, passing the cscs test requires you to have a good grasp of a wide variety of health and safety topics. This includes fire extinguishers, the different types of fire extinguishers and how to correctly and effectively use a fire extinguisher.

Because every working environment carries a potential fire risk, it’s very important to include fire safety in all health and safety revision guides, it wouldn’t just help you get a cscs card it could save your life. Similar to our cscs health and safety mock test, the real health and safety test will have questions on the different types of fire extinguishers and their uses, below are a few of the most common fire extinguisher types, you can use it as revision for your health and safety test.

Types of fire extinguishers

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Water Fire Extinguishers

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

Types of Fires and materials

Class A – Solid materials – wood, paper, plastic etc

Class B – Flammable liquids – oil, petrol etc

Class C – Flammable gases – propane, butane etc

Class D – Metals – titanium, aluminium etc

Class F – Cooking oils and fats

Electrical Fires – Live electrical equipment

Water Fire Extinguishers

Water fire extinguishers are suitable for use on wood, paper and fabric. They should not be used on electrical fires, fat fires, flammable liquids and gas. The water fire extinguisher can generally be used on class A fires. Water fire extinguishers are well known for reducing the risk of burning materials scattering.

Foam Fire Extinguishers

Foam fire extinguishers are suitable for use on paper, wood, flammable liquids and soft furnishing. They are not suitable for electrical fires. Foam extinguishers can be used on both Class A and Class B fires, when discharged it acts as a barrier which seals off the lit area and prevents re-ignition of the materials.

Dry Powder Fire Extinguishers

Dry powder fire extinguishers are one of the most versatile types of fire extinguisher because they can be used on gas, flammable liquids, chemical, oil, electrical hazards and engines but they should not be used in confined spaces. Dry powder fire extinguishers can be used on class A, Class B and Class C fires. The powder is a highly effective material for putting out electrical hazards and flammable liquids. It should not be used in confined spaces and is quite messy.

CO2 Fire Extinguishers

Co2 fire extinguishers are very good for uses on category B fires, this is fire caused by flammable liquids and they’re also good for electrical fires as well, this type of fire extinguisher comes with anti static horns that allow the user to be at a safe position while the co2 is being discharged. These horns are non conductive. The carbon dioxide forms a white cloud which blocks oxygen and eventually put the fire out. Note that the nozzle of this fire extinguisher becomes very cold.

Wet Chemical Fire Extinguishers

This type of fire extinguisher is especially effective on class F fires. It is commonly used to tackle cooking oil fires in restaurants and cooking schools. When this type of fire extinguisher is discharged it produces a fine spray which tackles the flames and the wet chemicals form a soap like film that blocks air and cools the surface.

Fire Extinguisher Colour Coding

Carbon dioxide (co2) – Black

Water – Red

Dry powder – Blue

Foam - Cream

Need more information on fire extinguishers? Here’s an external website that offers tips and advice on the different types of fire extinguishers.


5 Comments for Health and Safety Revision – Fire Extinguisher Types


Posted on Saturday 12th November, 2011, 5:56am

Very nice and simple description of the different types of fire extinguishers.

Reply

Posted on Monday 19th March, 2012, 7:54am

dry powder can also be used on class E fires too!

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    Posted on Wednesday 22nd August, 2012, 6:31pm

    Dry powder is not always advisable on class E fires as the powder can damage the equipment – I was actually tested on this when I did my SIA licence. You should use carbon dioxide if available.

    Reply

Posted on Thursday 29th November, 2012, 8:53am

I have managed many restaurants and never seen a wet chemical fire extinguisher we would either use dry powder or a fire blanket.The dry powder is attached to an ansul system and it triggers when a fire starts if it does not, then you can pull a ring pull.

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Posted on Wednesday 19th February, 2014, 5:07pm

Hi there please could someonee tell me , what extinguishers can be used on class D fires (metals) thanks!!

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